A Fine Follow-Up

Have a Cuppa 'Jo (The Huber Banjo Sessions, Vol. 2) (Huber)
Multiple Artists

By Bob Mitchell

Have A Cuppa 'Jo, an instrumental project, explodes with excitement and provides a first-rate listening experience. This release is high-octane bluegrass played the way bluegrass is supposed to be played.

Some of my favorite selections include a barn-burning "Cumberland Gap" and a bouncy "Dance Around Molly" from Cia Cherryholmes, 2006 SPBGMA Banjo player of the year; an exciting "Little Birdie" and "John Henry" from Jim Mills, 2005 IBMA Banjo player of the year; Greg Cahill's rip-roaring original "Margarita Breakdown;" covers of Frank Wakefield's "New Camptown Races" by Joey Cox and Earl Scrugg's "Nashville Blues" from Steve Dilling; a pedal-to-the-metal, no-holds-barred "Lonesome Road Blues," and the sentimental traditional favorite, "Home Sweet Home" from Jason Burleson. It does not get better than this.

In addition to fantastic banjo players, the backup band is comprised of some of the most respected names in the industry. Kenny Smith (former IBMA guitarist of the year) contributes consistently solid work but no more so than on "Margarita Breakdown," "Lonesome Road Blues" and "Snowflake Reel."

Ron Stewart (former IBMA fiddle player of the year) provides some of the finest bow work that can be heard especially on "Bully of the Town," "Margarita Breakdown," and "Lonesome Road Blues." Alan Bibey furnishes killer mandolin chops most notably on "Cumberland Gap," "Margarita Breakdown," "Lonesome Road Blues" and "Dance Around Molly." Rounding out the band is Alan Bartram and his rock solid bass.

On a five-point scale of instrumental excellence, this release merits a five.

For more information, check out www.huberbanjos.com